Sunday, February 19, 2017

Humble Orphans


I have a faint memory from my early friendship with Barb, of visiting her sewing room and exploring a drawer full of “orphan” quilt blocks: abandoned blocks, leftovers, vintage blocks… you know, the assorted oddments that otherwise have no home. What fun it would be, I thought, to arrange them, like puzzle pieces, into different quilt layouts. 

That’s what came to mind last year when I opened this birthday quilt from Barb. It’s made of “orphan blocks” from her stash.










The quilt is 10” x 12” and “randomly set” with blocks of different sizes, made to fit together by adding on or trimming back, as need be.

I’m guessing Barb started her layout with the vintage Shoo Fly block, then added Broken Dishes to continue the classic blue and brown color scheme. When the strip of Flying Geese blocks was too long to fit, Barb simply cut it off, leaving a partial block.


On the back is a beautiful botanical/bird print in rich colors, made richer by a gentle tea bath when all was finished. 


Before my birthday, I had my eye on this vintage bowl from Etsy. It’s the sweetest thing, just 3” tall and 5” across, with a hefty round base, and the loveliest shade of blue. Perhaps it’s an orphan too, separated, at some point, from the rest of its 1940’s set. I kept picturing it filled with old buttons, sitting atop a scrappy quilt. When Barb sent me this blue and brown beauty, I just had to have the bowl as well. Happy birthday to me!






Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sweet Hearts





Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy New Year?


So… where was I when I last posted? Oh yeah, smack dab in the middle of the worst year ever! 2016 brought an unrelenting onslaught of tragedy: natural disasters, shootings, bombings, protests, iconic celebrity passings, and unprecedented political farce. Some of you are also aware of the sadness that befell our family last April, with the tragic death of my brother, Carl. Losing him was heartbreaking, and nine months later, I’m still struggling with grief.

I’m fortunate that friends have weathered the journey with me, holding me close and listening, without judgment, as I rant and blather on and on. They’ve supported me with patience and love and coffee and chocolate, but lately, I've noticed them encouraging me toward more creative pursuits.

Whenever I see my friend, Kathy, she asks if I’ve written a new blog post. Linda’s even given me an ultimatum; "No new quilt photos until you start blogging again." Until now, I haven’t had the energy or focus to muster up more than a few words, but gradually, I’m finding my voice again.

For the past several months, Linda’s been sorting my sewing room, in hopes that something would pique my interest. Something finally did ~ an assortment of plaids, sent to me years ago by Kathie Holland. The 2” and 3.5" squares go together using the  connector squares method, as follows:


Exquisite, 18" x 27"

Wanda Hanson sewed them up for me and added plaids from her own collection to make a generous sized table-topper. Look at the beautiful backing and striped binding Wanda used. My favorite color!


Thank you to all who’ve encouraged and inspired me through this painful year. 



Monday, April 18, 2016

Let the Sunshine In!



After a week of glorious sunshine, it's warm enough to throw the windows open and let the fresh air in.  


That’s the first thing my friend Terri does each time she visits ~ opens curtains, blinds and doors to brighten my outlook on things.

I'm grinning like a Cheshire cat to have sunshine on my face and birdsong floating in with the breeze! 


Terri always brings lunch and this time, flowers too.  Set on a simple nine patch quilt, they will give me something pretty to enjoy all week!


Even a humble quilt like this one sparkles when the sun hits it just right. 

Thanks Terri, for a wonderful visit. You are always a breath of fresh air. 

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lincoln Memorial



Today is Presidents' Day in the USA and a good opportunity to share this tiny tribute to Abraham Lincoln. My friend Barb made it for my February birthday a couple years ago. Barb’s love of history and collecting Americana has inspired her to make several quilts featuring U.S. presidents.


It's a miniature medallion quilt, about 8"x10", with a portrait of Lincoln in the center. The three frames surrounding Abe couldn't be simpler, but because of Barb's savvy fabric choices, they add richness and texture to the piece.


I wonder if Barb had Ford’s Theatre in mind when she selected fabrics for each border or was it coincidence how closely they resemble the infamous scene of Lincoln’s assassination?


From the rich red carpet and brocade upholstery of the seating...

to the heavy swag draperies of the Presidential Box. As Barb says, “It is interesting how much the fabric choices matter in small projects. I tried a gazillion fabrics for this little one.”


Incidentally, there's a connection between Mary Todd Lincoln and our little community of Batavia, Illinois. Ten years after her husband's assassination, she was deemed mentally unstable and committed to Bellevue Place, a rest home and sanitarium just blocks from my house. Her stay was brief, a mere four months, but long enough for Mrs. Lincoln to earn a prominent spot in local lore.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Spiritual Gift


“If you are a craftsman…only look at your tools, your needle, your thimble…your scales, your measures, and you will find this saying written on them… ‘My dear, use me toward your neighbor, as you would want him to act towards you with that which is his.”              Martin Luther

When our family first joined Rejoice Lutheran Church, new members were encouraged to assess their spiritual gifts and apply them in service to the congregation. As a quilt maker, it wasn’t surprising that liturgical art was my forte. For several years, I put my sewing skills to work making banners for worship.

That was long ago, and my days of “making” are over. Nevertheless, I've felt a persistent calling to contribute one more banner to Rejoice. And why not? Just because I can’t make things, doesn’t mean I can’t make things happen!

My friend, Wanda Hanson, is a remarkable quilt artist, a genius with color and design, who blends fabrics from her palette of thousands into extraordinary one of a kind pieces. After seeing Wanda's latest series of colorwash quilts, I knew they'd be perfect for Rejoice!

The first time I approached Wanda about making a banner she declined. But at some point, my "calling" became her "calling" too. Eventually, she looked on the project as a personal challenge and an opportunity to share her God given talents with others.

The Creation story became our theme ~ both the scriptural version:

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw the light, and it was good.  Genesis 1:3-4  


as well as the scientific explanation for the origin of the universe ~ Bible meets Big Bang!
Wanda cut, arranged and sewed hundreds of luminous batiks, 356 3"x 6” rectangles to be exact, each a different color and print, to create “Let there be Light”


Wanda with the 69" x 93” banner

What better backdrop for worship could there be than this glorious riot of color, representing the Holy Spirit at work inside us all?



double click to enlarge

Visit Wanda's blog, Exuberant Color.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Reality Check!


It’s been a long, lazy, uneventful summer… I’ve been sleeping a lot, reading too little, not writing at all, and taking way too much comfort in my own complacency. MS will do that to you when you start to think, “Is this as good as things are gonna get?”


I forgot that MS can still pull the rug out from under me at a moment’s notice, which it did a couple weeks ago. I haven’t had an exacerbation in years, so didn’t recognize the signs (severe pain in hands, wrists and arms) until my left hand (my only functional appendage) suddenly stopped working. That got my attention!


Three days in the hospital on IV steroids has restored function to my left hand. I can scratch my nose now, give a feeble wave, feed myself finger foods, type o-n-e  l-e-t-t-e-r  a-t  a  t-i-m-e with a pointing device on my computer, use the TV remote, and even hold a cup of coffee, if I’m lucky enough to get one. 

I've been assigned a series of challenging hand exercises to practice daily. Hopefully they’ll make me strong enough to erase “complacency” from my vocabulary and live each day with more purpose and intention.